Saturday, May 30, 2009

Poe's Ravens


The American gothic movement is often said to have begun with the book Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown, which was published in 1798 and was based in part on an incident in which a New York farmer murdered his wife and children after he was told to by voices. The next two big names to appear on the American scene were Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Poe worked mostly in short stories and poetry. Perhaps his most gothic story was “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which he wrote in 1839. His classic gothic poem was, of course, “The Raven,” which saw print in 1845. Hawthorne’s classic gothic novel was The House of the Seven Gables, published in 1851.

Poe and Hawthorne represent early extremes in how they expressed the gothic impulse in their writings. Poe reveled in the dark emotional excesses of the field, in grisly murders and wild madness. Hawthorne’s work was more subtle and ironic, with his revenants harnessed toward literary, moral, and political ends. But it was Poe whose influence was felt most strongly in the development of the early twentieth century horror pulps like Terror Tales and Weird Tales, the latter of which took its very title from Poe’s poetry. And it is Poe to whom most modern American horror writers look to as their primary literary ancestor. I certainly think of him that way, and I can hardly see a crow or a raven without being reminded of Poe’s darkness.

I was pleased back in 1995 to have two pieces in Once Upon a Midnight…, a poetry collection honoring “The Raven.” Now, not quite fifteen years later, I’m very happy to be involved with another of Poe’s Ravens. A new print anthology of short stories and poetry inspired directly by Poe’s own work has just been published. It’s called, Return of the Raven. My contribution to the anthology is a story called “A Curse the Dead Must Bear.” The book is published by Horror Bound Online, and if you’re interested you can find out more about it here. It’s kind of nice to see my name listed on the cover rather than lumped in with, “and others.”
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43 comments:

David Cranmer said...

Congrats Charles and you posted this just in time. My big Amazon order is going in tonight and I will add Return of the Raven to the list.

Steve Malley said...

Congratulations, man!! :-D

Wil said...

When did you change your name to Robert Villanueva? Oh, there you are. Ya know one of these days I'm gonna go on a tear and actually read all your stuff. Hell, maybe I'll even get Heff to read one or two! Ok, maybe we should just start with me first.

Wil Harrison.com

spyscribbler said...

Charles, that is so cool! I'm putting this on my list. I've been in such a gothic mood lately. I've spent the last three nights sobbing over Jane Eyre, LOL.

Fabulous cover, by the way.

Tara Maya said...

Way to go, that's good news. I love Poe.

laughingwolf said...

grats charles, nicely done!

will check it out asap :)

Cloudia said...

Charles, This was very iluminating! I'm a huge POE fan having grown up in Philly and seen the house where he wrote "The Raven." I think we identify with him - he's a modern figure trying to make a living with his pen in the burgeoning world of journslism. Also, he seemed riven with anxieties and darkness that all of us writers can identify with - who HASN'T tried laudenum or opium to quell our existential angst? LOL!
What about H.P. Lovecraft, where does HE fit in? aloha from sunny, un-Poe-like Waikiki

Cloudia said...

Nevermore...

Charles Gramlich said...

David, thanks, let me know what you think when you get around to reading it.

Steve Malley, much appreciated.

Wil, well, "Cold in the Light" has sex in it. Not much, but some. It's got a lot of gore."

spyscribbler, there are some of the earliest gothic books available for free online, "The Castle of Otranto," and "The Old English Baron."

Tara Maya, I've been a long fan of Poe's. He was one of the few writers we were forced to read in high school that I liked. Thanks for visiting.

laughingwolf, thanks. I appreciate that.

Cloudia, I've got a story coming up in a Lovecraft anthology too. Tales out of Miskatonic University. I'm a big fan of his as well.

Christina said...

Even after all the Nathaniel Hawthorne reading I had to do in college, I still can't find common ground with his work.

I love hearing where certain genres took off.

ivan said...

Well, nice work on Poe, the father, among other genres, the detective story. Remember that last bit in Murder on the Rue Mogue where the crazy Orang-Utan swung from tree to gaslight with the razor in his hand?
Some days I think Poe invented everything fairly recent in literature, including modernism itself.
Darn, Charles, now you got me in a gothic mood. I am half-tempted to forcefeed a Canadin exurban gothic chapter on ya, right in this space.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Wow! On the cover's cool. Still, I'd take a lumping any day of the week.

Angie said...

Congrats, Charles! That's awesome! :D

I remember getting a big, illustrated collection of Poe's work when I was like ten or so. I loved "The Raven," and "Annabel Lee," and "The Telltale Heart" and "Masque of the Red Death." I'll definitely keep an eye out for the new antho. :)

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

Christina, not too long ago I read a very short collection of Hawthorne's stories and some were quite good. I didn't particularly like the House of the seven gables. I preferred the Scarlet Letter much more.

ivan, yeah, that's why Poe was so influential. He did such brutal things with his stories and it keeps them fresh even today.

JR, Oh I admit, lumpings not bad.

bARKINGmAD said...

Superb! I'd be proud to have my name publicly associated with Poe, in any kind of way. This has got to be great for you. Congrats.

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, thanks. Yes, Poe had so many great stories. The biggest influence on the story I have in this book is "The Cask of Amontillado."

Barkingmad, thank you. It's definitely an honor. And thanks for visiting.

the walking man said...

Not only listed but listed in the first line. Well done Charles.

You do know Absinthe is legal again in the US? Poe was a partaker of the green fairy.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, I do know that, although I've heard it's a different absinthe from that sold in his time.

Middle Ditch said...

Wow! Well done you. (nearly green with envy)

Scott said...

Charles,

Congrats on getting your work in the book, and getting cover time!

I haven't read Hawthorne since school, maybe I should check it out again.

jodi said...

Congrats, Charles. You know I'm not a gore fan, but on your recommendation, I might try. I stay alone alot and don't want to get creeped out. Lola is a horrible attack cat.

Charles Gramlich said...

Middle Ditch, thanks. I appreciate it. Not that you're green or anything. ;)

Scott, you might try his short story collection. A good 'short' way to test the waters.

jodi, lol. These stories are probably not super gory. Mine has almost no gore. They might be kind of creepy, though.

Greg Schwartz said...

congrats, Charles! looks like a cool book.

Erik Donald France said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik Donald France said...

That's so cool! Congrats!

Three things I can add about EAP: there's a Poe House In Philly, where he wrote "The Raven" (his stuffed raven is in the Free Library); he went to West Point, and fellow cadets paid for some of his poetry to be published before he left. Three: his grave is in Baltimore, and it's interesting.

Wil said...

Hey, what's all this talk about Poe Ravens? I hate those damn things, they're nothing but a menace!

Wil Harrison.com

the walking man said...

Charles at a 120 proof...but no the formula's are basically the same the wormwood content is restricted to a lesser amount, the other herbs and stuff follows the pre-1912 formula as much as modern distillers have been able to re-create it.

Vesper said...

Congratulations, Charles! The book looks great and also your name, right there on the first line... :-)

Poe has always been one of my favourite authors.

Cheri said...

I am pleased! Congrats! I've always been a Poe fan. My large Poe anthology houses flowers pressed from funerals and ex boyfriends, each appropriately placed.

BernardL said...

Very good news! My favorite Poe poem is 'Anabelle Lee'.

Charles Gramlich said...

Greg Schwartz, thanks. There should be some Poesque poetry in it too but I haven't yet seen a copy. It was just released yesterday.

Erik Donald France, I did a much longer piece on Poe years ago and part of this post is taken from that essay. I'd like to visit Poe's grave sometime.

Wil, You talking about the bird of the criminal element of the Baltimore Ravens NFL team? Could be either one.

Mark, I'll have to try some. I've been intending to since I heard it was back but I don't often get out to places where it might be sold. They probably have it somewhere in the French Quarter though. Surely.
Vesper, Mine too. I think it was back in the 90s I took half a summer and reread almost everything by him and did a few poems and stories that were influenced by his work.

Cheri, yes, that would seem to be an appropriate place to keep such reminders. Poe would no doubt be pleased.

BernardL, I think my favorite is City under the Sea.

cs harris said...

Great, Charles! I've always had a soft spot for The Raven ever since I had to memorize the entire thing in the 6th grade.

Sarai said...

Awesome!!! Congrats~!

L.A. Mitchell said...

On the top line, no less. Awesome cover, too. Many, many congrats. I want to read it.

Heff said...

Quote the Heffer, "Nevermore".

jennifer said...

My favorite is The Tell-Tale Heart. I have read it to my kids a couple of times around Halloween.

Congratulations to you Charles!

Charles Gramlich said...

Candy, thanks. Sorry you were still feeling ill this evening.

Sarai, thanks much! :)

L.A. Mitchell, yes, I like the cover. Understated but cool.

Heff, I wonder if there's a beer called "nevermore." there should be.

jennifer, yes, that is a good one. That's the first I ever read by Poe and it has always stayed with me.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Excellent, Charles ...

Barbara Martin said...

Excellent, and well done, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Don, Barbara, thanks. I appreciate that.

Shauna Roberts said...

Congrats, Charles! I haven't had a good dose of Gothic in a long time, so I ordered a copy and look forward to reading your story.

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna, I hope you enjoy. I haven't got my copies yet but should get them soon.

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